Showing posts with label News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News. Show all posts

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Legacy of John Wayne


Adjusting the legacy of John Wayne is probably overdue. I don't think we can remove him completely from the history of film, but I do think we need to take steps to put him and his controversial views in their proper context:
"Conversations about systemic racism in our cultural institutions along with the recent global, civil uprising by the Black Lives Matter Movement require that we consider the role our School can play as a change maker in promoting antiracist cultural values and experiences," Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Evan Hughes said in a Friday announcement to the film school community.

"Therefore, it has been decided that the Wayne Exhibit will be removed."

The exhibit will instead be moved to the Cinematic Arts Library, Hughes wrote, where it can be placed "within the proper archival and research context" for continued education on Wayne's role in film history.
While the statement did not directly address the controversy surrounding Wayne, his legacy has recently been re-examined, especially after a 1971 interview with Playboy resurfaced and went viral last year. In it, Wayne espoused derogatory views of African Americans, Native Americans and films with gay characters.
"I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility," the actor said. "I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people."
You could add his comments and his views to the exhibit as a way to put Wayne in the proper historical context as it relates to his place in American history. I think you have to include the fact that this was common to the entertainment industry. To me, that would help explain that he wasn't the only person who had these horrible views and opinions. There is ample evidence that he was no different than Ronald Reagan in terms of how he viewed minorities.

And while Wayne and Reagan had vastly different careers, they were part of a generation that had an enormous impact on the cultural history of the country. Providing context is probably the most helpful way of explaining who Wayne was and why it's important that we understand his contributions.

I don't have a problem changing the name of the airport, either. We could rename that and we could definitely rename Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Ed Henry Has Been Fired



Ed Henry was considered a "rising star" at Fox News which translates, loosely, into "a human being with hair who does not drool all over himself when lying to the audience." He has now been fired for sexual misconduct:

Fox News said Wednesday that Ed Henry, one of its top news anchors, has been fired after an investigation into an allegation was leveled by a former employee.

"On Thursday, June 25, we received a complaint about Ed Henry from a former employee's attorney involving willful sexual misconduct in the workplace years ago," Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace wrote in an internal memo.

The executives said that an outside law firm was immediately brought in to investigate the claims.
"‪Ed was suspended the same day and removed from his on-air responsibilities pending investigation," they said. "Based on investigative findings, Ed has been terminated."‬

Until last week, Henry was a rising star at Fox, responsible for co-anchoring three hours of morning news coverage on the network.
Henry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Fox News is probably budgeting thirty or forty million dollars in sexual harassment payouts per year right now, so this is proactive and defensive in nature.

How bad of a human being do you have to be to get fired by Fox News AFTER they cleaned house and fired a bunch of creeps in the aftermath of the whole Roger Ailes debacle? Henry had to have done something not just shocking but deviant in nature as well. Holy crap.

And yes, it is news when someone gets fired after working at an organization that was forced to pay out an untold amount of serious money because it tolerated a culture of rampant sexual misconduct. You would think that Henry would have dialed it back a bit but, no. Once an abuser, always an abuser.

The good news for Henry is that he can now join the Trump regime or its campaign and continue to do God's work on behalf of the conservative movement.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

30 Rock and Blackface


I support this, even if I don't completely understand it:
Four episodes of 30 Rock, including two featuring Jane Krakowski’s Jenna character in blackface, are being removed from subscription streaming services Hulu and Amazon Prime and have also been made unavailable for sale on purchase platforms such as iTunes and Google Play. The episodes, which will no longer air on traditional TV either, were pulled at the request of NBCUniversal executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. A source tells Vulture the four episodes, some of which have already vanished, should be gone by the end of this week.
“As we strive to do the work and do better in regards to race in America, we believe that these episodes featuring actors in race-changing makeup are best taken out of circulation,” Fey wrote in a letter to the platforms that streamed or sold 30 Rock. “I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images. I apologize for pain they have caused. Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness. I thank NBCUniversal for honoring this request.”

You have to adapt to the times in which we live. I totally get that. I watched every episode of 30 Rock and I loved the show. When these episodes aired, there was no intention of advancing any kind of racist agenda. It was intended to mock anyone who thought going out and performing in blackface was acceptable or reasonable. It was always the intention of the show to highlight just how awful the "Jenna" character was in terms of being self-centered and delusional.

There was little, if any, outcry when these episodes aired, but that's not the standard that should apply. Those sentiments should not hurt people, and so I can understand why they're being pulled. I don't think this should extend to any kind of condemnation for the people who made this because I just don't see how they weren't advancing a hateful agenda when they made these episodes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The French Dispatch


There are only a handful of films that I really wanted to see this year, and The French Dispatch is at the top of the list.
The message from the Cannes Film Festival is: Corona or not, the show must go on. The iconic French festival, which was as scheduled to run May 12-23 but was forced to cancel its physical event due to the coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday unveiled its lineup for Cannes 2020, a selection of films that will carry the Cannes brand to screen at other events around the world.
The Cannes 2020 program includes many of the year's buzziest art house and indie titles — among them Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch, Naomi Kawase's True Mothers, François Ozon's Summer of '85, ADN aka DNA, directed by, and starring French filmmaker Maïwenn (Polisse) and Thomas Vinterberg’s pro-drinking drama Another Round. (Scroll down for the full line-up).

Don't take this to mean that it is the only thing I wanted to see. I suppose there are a few others, we don't get a Wes Anderson movie like this one often enough.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not just delaying the release of movies that are already made but it is also delaying the filming and production of movies that had been planned. And we all know how things fall apart--funding, whatever and what have you dries up when there is a delay. Add to that the struggles of everyone who works on films and you have a perfect storm for when we might have to settle for re-releases and encore presentations.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Lisa Guerrero


Action shots like this demonstrate that Lisa Guerrero is the entertainment journalist that America needs during these dark times. Instead of feel good bullshit about someone's dog or drug habit, Guerrero is drawing attention to the very real problems of self-isolation, COVID-19, and alcoholism.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A Reckoning for Timothy Hutton


Every horrible thing that has been done eventually comes back around and hits you in the face.

Hutton took off his clothes, got on top of her, Johnston said, and thrust himself inside her. She started to beg: “Please, don’t do this. I can’t do it. I can’t.” Johnston said Hutton told her that she would like it — and that his friend was going to watch. 
“It hurt like hell,” Johnston said. “I mean, it was very painful. God. Yeah, it was extremely painful. Horrible, horrible, absolutely horrible.” At one point, she said, Hutton went to get Vaseline as a lubricant. 
She said Hutton’s friend, who was standing next to the bed, put his erect penis into her mouth. 
“He got it in a couple of times,” Johnston said. “And I said, ‘You have to tell him that he can’t!’” Her mouth was full of train-track braces and rubber bands, she said. She started to cry. 
Johnston said Hutton told his friend, “‘She doesn’t like that,’ or whatever. Meanwhile, he finished raping me.” 
I don't know how any person could read that and not be horrified.

Yes, we do need to treat each and every one of these cases with a degree of skepticism but I don't think that leads us to a place where we should not believe women when they tell these stories. There should be a way to ensure that something like this can't keep happening.
One way to accomplish this would be for cops to actually make it so women can report being raped without being made to feel like criminals. If we're talking the entertainment industry, underage performers, and everything else, there should be a system that allows them to be protected and never exploited like this. So, separate from what happened here, we still need to make reforms and address the fact that women are often ignored or intimidated into silence.
In the years since that night, Johnston told BuzzFeed, that what happened “has colored every area of my life.”
Besides Hutton’s statement, his camp also released a statement from his defamation counsel, Tom Clare, who said he has sent BuzzFeed a legal retraction demand. He claimed that BuzzFeed, “facing serious financial struggles and pressure to attract readers, has shamefully disregarded the facts and allowed itself to be used by Ms. Johnston,” and also said the site “ignored hard evidence that Ms. Johnston lied about participating in extortion attempts and turned a blind eye to critical inconsistencies in Ms. Johnston’s story. 
“We will be sending BuzzFeed a legal retraction demand. If BuzzFeed wrongfully refuses to retract the article, Tim is prepared to take any and all necessary steps, including the filing of a defamation lawsuit, to clear his name and to hold BuzzFeed and Ms. Johnston accountable for their reckless and self-serving efforts to destroy Tim’s reputation and career.”

A spokesperson for BuzzFeed said the outlet stands by the piece: “BuzzFeed News’ reporting on the alleged rape of a 14 year-old girl by Timothy Hutton is based on interviews with the alleged victim, the account of a woman who was with her that evening, and five separate people who were told of the assault at the time. BuzzFeed News stands unequivocally by our reporting.”
God, what a mess. Now, what you need to watch for is for anyone else to come forward with a similar story. If a pattern emerges, what should be done?

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Oscars


What the hell happened to the Oscars?
The US live TV audience for the Oscars fell to an all-time low on Sunday.Roughly 23.6 million viewers tuned into the awards ceremony, according to the US broadcaster ABC, citing Nielsen. 
The ratings fell sharply from last year when 29.5 million people watched, amid an industry-wide decline in linear TV viewing. 
South Korea's Parasite made history, becoming the first non-English language film to win best picture since the awards began 92 years ago. 
Renee Zellweger won best actress for playing Judy Garland in Judy. Joaquin Phoenix was named best actor for Joker. 
Despite the ratings slump, the Oscars, which had no host for the second year running, remains the most-watched awards show. 
In 2019 the ceremony managed to buck a four-year trend in declining viewers and increased its audience by 11% to 26.5 million.
Both of these things can be true:

1. The movies aren't as important as they once were, and you can certainly find great art on television in long form series and through streaming services that produce great content.

2. People are tired of an endless broadcast that kisses the asses of people who are ridiculously biased against certain types of performers and anyone who ever made a successful comedy.

Hollywood realizes it has a diversity problem. The answer is thus - "if we have to give awards to people of color, then they have to still be men." Hollywood is already very diverse, as long as you don't count the fact that they ignore women. You can't honestly say that Bong Joon-Ho would have won if he was a woman because there were five other women that made films that were just as good if not better than the one he made. There, I said it. Cancel me.

Beyond that, I thought the whole thing was a turgid mess. Without a host to explain things, the show lurched from one non-sequitur to another. They made a feeble attempt to keep everything in line, and they tried their best to get the technical awards over in a hurry, but they failed. If the thing were entirely limited to seven awards - best supporting actor and actress, best actor and actress, best film, best director, and a lifetime achievement award, then you could get the thing over in an hour. Want to see who wins all the other awards? Go watch it on cable tomorrow night.

No one cares what I think and why should they? This has been a problem since forever and they're never going to fix it. The power of "the academy" is such that there will not be meaningful change until someone wises up and realizes what needs to be done.


Saturday, February 1, 2020

James Corden is Right


James Corden is taking a stand against bias in Hollywood:
James Corden’s acting career was filled with major ups and downs — soap opera bit roles, hit British sitcoms and Broadway shows — but one constant he’s seen is a lack of quality parts for people his size. 
Corden now has a massive career as the host of The Late Late Show, but earlier in his acting days, despite starring in the hit play The History Boys, he struggled to get substantial roles while his costars earned major movie parts. 
“I was good for playing a bubbly judge in a courtroom, or I’d be the guy who drops off a TV to Hugh Grant in a movie,” he told The New Yorker. 
Corden said it’s a problem that stems from how society treats overweight people.
“If someone came from another planet and put on the television, you would think that people who are big or overweight don’t have sex,” he said. “They don’t fall in love.
 They’re friends of people who fall in love. They’re probably not that bright, but they’re a good time, and they’re not as valuable as people who are really good-looking.”
I'm glad he is speaking up because this bias is a very real thing. It goes against anyone who isn't perfect looking, and it skews heavily against older people as well. One of the best antidotes to this would be to see an actress like Rebel Wilson really make it in Hollywood. Another would be to see movies and TV shows that treat everyone the same damned way.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Terry Jones 1942-2020


As John Cleese said today, two down, four to go.

The death of Terry Jones is not an unexpected thing, but it stings and hurts all the more because his final years were spent suffering from dementia. My thoughts are with his family and, no matter who you are, dealing with a loss like this is a difficult but ultimately human experience.

Jones was a very learned comedian, which meant that he did smart things for laughs. Oh, sure. He was naked a lot, but that was just part of his charm. He leaves behind a body of work that has few equals.

If you want some insight as to how brilliant he was, pick up one of his books. I have a book of scripts for Ripping Yarns, and it has always been a favorite, something I could never part with. And then there's his medieval research, Who Murdered Chaucer?

Thursday, December 26, 2019

You Were Never Going to be Happy


I won't properly review The Rise of Skywalker here, nor will I spoil anything for you. I will say this--American cinema is in bad, bad shape.

My overall, general reaction to this film is that it typifies the need to please everyone, especially foreign film markets, without having any core beliefs present in the actual film or story. This is a summer movie, released at Christmas, that should be taken as a fun ride through a world that is already familiar. If you take a step back and look at the Lucas films (the original three), the prequels, and the JJ Abrams series (Rian Johnson's lone contribution is meaningless here) as something to watch when nothing is on, they're fine.

Really, you could turn Brendan Fraser's Mummy movies into the "new" Star Wars and not miss a beat as long as you don't bring JJ Abrams in to ruin everything.  Neither are cinema. They're intended to be entertainment, and there's nothing wrong with that and there's no need to be snobbish about it. The fact is, they work on many levels. But they are not "elite" storytelling, nor are they as important as they are made out to be. In fact, they're just simple, enjoyable films that provide a lot of visual excitement. They are not films where adults speak to one another. They are films where adults escape from reality and shoot things that you don't mind seeing killed.

Here's my overall problem with that. Every attempt to make that excitement happen comes with a suspension of disbelief that gets old after a while. There's only so much you can take. And these films overload you with things that seem to be about marketing toys than they are about story telling.

Overhyped kiddie movies that are designed to appeal to teenagers in China? Yeah, I would agree with that. We make far too much of that crap right now. It's choking out actual creativity, little by little. Star Wars was supposed to revolutionize things. It did so visually, but did not improve story telling at all.

There's a really good story embedded here, and some day, someone will reboot that story and focus on it in a way that will really enhance it for an audience that, I hope, will be ready to experience it. There are hours and hours of performances from great actors that stumbles on dialogue that was added as an afterthought. Is there a single Star Wars screenplay that doesn't read like absolute shit? Honestly, with all of the writers in the world, you couldn't find someone to make the script work? Ever? And, yes, I remember the work Lawrence Kasdan did on the original films. Even he couldn't fully shine the turd.

You have talented actors in every scene, and some of the moments really shine. As a whole, there's not much for them to do except adapt to things that bounce around on a sound stage. There's very little acting between people, but, when there are real conversations, they are brief and forgotten on the next amusement ride through the green screen world that appears, as if by magic, and right on cue.

Star Wars was always more enjoyable as a book, for me, than it was as a film. I can remember reading the original movie tie-in books, as well as Splinter of the Mind's Eye and the series of canonical books that were released in the 1990s. This was always escapism for me, and I like that sort of thing. In the hands of skilled writers, the story is far more enjoyable than in the hands of film makers who are pressured on all sides to make something everyone will like that is full of things everyone will buy that won't offend everyone who lives in a part of the world that hates originality and rebellion.

Having said all of this, Rogue One is still the only decent Star Wars movie. I will welcome your agreement.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Karen McDougal Was Not Lying



Why do reporters seem to think that Trump's affair with Karen McDougal should still be treated as something that "allegedly" happened?
Karen McDougal, the woman who claims that she had an affair with Donald Trump after they met in 2006, filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News on Thursday over a Tucker Carlson Tonight segment in which he inferred that she engaged in extortion. 
It was McDougal, a former Playboy model, who sold her story to the National Enquirer just before the 2016 election, but did not publish it, in a practice known as “catch and kill.” Federal prosecutors later said that American Media CEO David Pecker coordinated with Trump’s then-attorney, Michael Cohen, to pay McDougal and later be reimbursed. 
In December of last year, Carlson said that the “facts are undisputed” that McDougal and another woman who claimed to have had an affair with Trump, Stormy Daniels, “approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money.”
The White House is denying a new report that President Trump had an extramarital affair before he launched his political career. A story in the New Yorker says former Playboy model Karen McDougal had the affair with Donald Trump for about nine months. 
McDougal says it started when she met Mr. Trump in 2006 at the Playboy mansion following a taping of his reality show "The Apprentice," putting the alleged affair less than two years into Mr. Trump's marriage to wife Melania. The article is also raising questions about whether another publication tried to bury McDougal's story, reports CBS News' Jacqueline Alemany.

"Karen McDougal, in this written document, stresses that her relationship with Donald Trump was entirely consensual, but her story reveals commonalities with story after story that has now emerged about Donald Trump's either consensual relationships with women or alleged non-consensual advances," said Ronan Farrow, the reporter who broke the story for the New Yorker.

McDougal sold the rights to her story to the publisher of the National Enquirer, barring her from discussing the details of her alleged relationship with Mr. Trump. The story never ran.

McDougal refused to take money for sex with Trump:

Donald Trump once tried to offer Karen McDougal money after they had been intimate, the former Playboy model told Anderson Cooper Thursday in an exclusive interview on CNN. 
"After we had been intimate, he tried to pay me, and I actually didn't know how to take that," she said of their first alleged sexual encounter. 
When Cooper asked if Trump tried to hand her money, McDougal said, "He did." 
"I don't even know how to describe the look on my face," she said. "It must have been so sad." 
McDougal appeared on CNN to tell her story of an alleged affair she had with now-President Donald Trump over a decade ago and its emotional fallout, as well as to air her grievances with the company she's suing over the story.
Trump loves a bargain, so it's no wonder he kept going back to her for more. And, as if we're not already weirded out by this, McDougal is probably the only human being on Earth who ever loved Trump:
McDougal said their relationship was consensual and loving, and that they saw each other regularly through the duration of the alleged affair. 
"I can tell you we saw each other a minimum five times a month, up to bigger numbers per month," she said.
McDougal said they were together "many dozens of times," and responded in the affirmative when asked if they were intimate -- saying later that Trump had not used protection.
She added that she did not know Trump might have been with other women at the time besides his wife. 
"I didn't know he was intimate with other ladies," she said. "I thought I was the only one."

Well, we know that Trump has had sex with his current wife at least once, and probably not since then, so that's something. Plus, it's interesting that McDougal believes that suing Tucker Carlson is actually going to work. You don't sue a clown for trying to be funny in public, and you're damned sure going to go broke waiting for him to do the right thing.

Look at what we've become. What a debacle.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Harvey Weinstein is a Scumbag




I still don’t understand why Harvey Weinstein isn’t in jail right now. He is a clear and present threat to public safety. How can a man credibly accused of assaulting more than 80 women still be walking around like some pathetic loser, desperate for sympathy?

Since initial bombshell reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker in October 2017, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual abuse ranging from harassment to rape. He is charged with predatory sexual assault, a criminal sexual act, first-degree rape and third-degree rape. Weinstein's impending criminal trial, which is set to begin January 6, has depleted him, members of the former film executive's small inner circle told CNN. The 67-year-old is physically weaker from recent back surgeries, but they don't describe an otherwise changed man.

CNN has learned from those closest to Weinstein that he isn't sorry about his alleged misconduct. He's combative, maintains he is innocent of any crime and is planning for a career comeback post-trial. His attorneys have maintained that any sexual contact between Weinstein and his accusers was consensual.

Two of Weinstein's remaining friends spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity in order to protect their privacy due to the high-profile nature of his case. Weinstein's criminal defense attorneys, Donna Rotunno and Damon Cheronis, also gave interviews.

"Anyone who looks at him or talks to him knows this has taken an emotional and physical toll. Is his health failing? Not in a life or death situation, but I think he's just breaking down," one of his friends told CNN.

Of course, the women who have suffered for years are easily forgotten. I think that the writer of this story should burn their sources. Who is running interference for Weinstein? Who is working the press in order to buy him some freedom? What a disgrace.

Fuck this guy.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

It is Safe to Ignore Bill Maher From Now On




I am so glad that I don’t have to pay attention to this smug asshole anymore:

In the days after she became the most-Googled candidate at the first of two Democratic primary debates this week, Marianne Williamson faced sharp scrutiny on her past statements about vaccines and mental health during combative interviews with MSNBC’s Ari Melber and CNN’s Anderson Cooper

On Friday night, she found herself in the warm embrace of HBO’s Bill Maher.

Williamson didn’t seem to know quite what to expect when she sat down with the Real Time host midway through his first show back on the air in several weeks. He called her “too interesting to run for president” before suggesting that her spiritual philosophy “sounds like Scientology.” Taken aback, she asked, “How can you even say that?”

“It just sounds like it, I’m not saying it is,” Maher responded quickly, walking back the perceived criticism. Despite his nearly militant anti-religious stance, he seemed oddly taken with her message about a “higher power.” 

Anyone who kisses his ass from now on deserves to be mocked.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Gwyneth Paltrow is Definitely Not on Drugs




Sebastian Stan is one of those actors who should be very well known to other actors, but Gwyneth Paltrow keeps forgetting who he is for some odd reason:






It could very well be that Paltrow has no idea what she’s working on at any given time, being either confused or disorganized. In the last century, we would surmise that she was on drugs or that she was just flaky and ridiculous (kinda the same thing).

No one assumes someone is on drugs anymore, so that’s the point of all of this. We have gotten to a point when a reasonably intelligent person who can’t remember working with Sebastian Stan is not automatically accused of being heavily into drugs or completely wasted all of the time. I call that progress.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

What Fresh Hell is This?




This is a very specific blog post, and it’s not directed at you.

It’s directed at the person who wrote this article and the editor, or editors, who allowed it to be published.

Who in the holy hell cares what Anthony Scaramucci has to say about anything? Who cares what he thinks about politics? About American foreign policy? About any goddamned thing imaginable?

What in the hell is wrong with you people? Scaramucci is not a credible source of information, opinion or expertise. He is a rolling sack of meat jammed into a suit. He’s less than informed about actual things happening in this world—he’s a discredited, unemployable jackass with no redeemable qualities.

You dutifully wrote down what he had to say, and you came up with this?

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci believes it would be "very smart" for Iran to de-escalate tensions with the United States, amid fears of another military confrontation in the Middle East.

President Donald Trump announced fresh sanctions on the Islamic Republic on Monday, following the downing of an unmanned American drone last week.

The U.S. president also warned an Iranian attack on Americans would be met with "great and overwhelming force" and "obliteration."

Oh, man. If the Mooch says it would be “very smart” for the Republic of Iran to do something, well, we’d all better get in line behind his wise and learned advice and follow it, huh? This is million dollar stuff here.

Jesus fucking Christ, you people. You’ve elevated a barely sentient pissant to the level of what, exactly? Why don’t you get Omarosa’s opinion on textile trade with South Asia? Why don’t you get Corey Lewandowski’s opinion on relations with the opposition running against the government of Malaysia? How about asking Tom Price what we should do about our treaty rights in relation to all things concerning the Laplanders?

These are the stupidest times of our lives, bar none.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Batman Got On My Nerves




Anyone who argues that Batman (1989) was anything other than a steaming turd is trying to rewrite history. It was actually a pretty shitty movie, and it was largely acknowledged to be trashy and campy on purpose:

Hollywood's obsession with Batman began thirty years ago on June 23, 1989 when Tim Burton, Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson showed doubters that The Dark Knight was worthy of the big screen. Batmanearned a massive $411.5 million globally, but faced a tough battle to the big screen that involved rejection from nearly every studio in Hollywood and its leading lady being re-cast at the last minute.

Batman has an origin story that begins in the most unassuming of places — with a twenty-something comic book geek attending college at Indiana University in Bloomington. In 1972, Michael Uslan landed on the radar of Sol Harrison, the vice president of DC Comics in New York, because the junior in college was teaching the world’s first-ever college accredited course on comic books.

“Sol said that what I was doing at Indiana was very innovative and good for the whole comic book industry," Uslan tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Sol and DC’s then President Carmine Infantino, flew me to New York and they offered me a job.” Uslan worked in New York in summers, and he was put on retainer while he was at Indiana.

At the time, DC Comics had been acquired by Warners Communications, a division of Warner Publishing. “The Warner Publishing brass, generally speaking, were not a bunch of happy campers that they owned a comic book company,” Uslan says. “They only saw value in Superman.”

In the following years, Uslan graduated from law school and cut his teeth in the film industry at United Artists. His time there prepared Uslan to make his dream of producing a dark and serious Batman movie a reality. His first stop: getting the film rights.

“The day came when I went back to Sol Harrison and said, 'Sol, I want to buy the rights to Batman,’” Uslan recalls.  “Sol was genuinely apoplectic. He was very fond of me, which I greatly appreciated. He said 'Michael, Michael for God’s sake don't do this. I don't want to see you lose all your money. Don’t you understand that after Batman went off the air on TV the brand became as dead as a dodo? Nobody’s interested in Batman anymore’ I countered with, ‘But Sol, nobody’s ever done a dark, serious Batman feature film. This is almost going to be like almost a new form of entertainment!’”

There was nothing dark or serious about Batman because, for all intents and purposes, Tim Burton was and still is a terrible filmmaker. I mean, go back and watch this, and then watch the one with poor Danny DeVito as a human penguin, and then get back to me about how these films should have been taken seriously. You could have put Adam West in these films and no one would have said a word.

Michael Keaton is a great actor, but he was largely wasted in these films. They were not “serious” in any sense of the word. They were expensive, exploitative, and copied elements from other films, such as Die Hard. If anything, send Bruce Willis fifty bucks. And, come on. If Jack Nicholson’s obituary mentions his role as the Joker, then you know something’s wrong.

Give me a break.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Tim Conway 1933-2019




I don’t know if there is anyone who was more omnipresent than Tim Conway when I was growing up. He was always on television, always funny, always working. His ability to do live improvisational comedy (well, live to tape, anyway) was greatly underappreciated when he was on television.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Lori Loughlin




America’s beloved TV sweetheart is not going to go down without a fight:

 Actress Lori Loughlin has lost acting gigs and been the subject of public wrath after being charged in the college admissions scandal.

But beyond the court of public opinion, how strong is the legal case against Loughlin and her fashion designer husband?

That is the question her legal team is now trying to answer.

Loughlin and her husband have refused to plead out to federal charges, and it appears they aren’t in any hurry to do so as their legal team hunts for errors in the prosecution’s case.

“Her attorneys have made it clear that they are not going to be rushing into any deal with the prosecution,” said Louis Shapiro, an experienced federal litigator. “They want to perform a thorough analysis of the evidence and then help their client make an informed decision about what is in her best interest to do.”

The couple feel they were genuinely duped by William “Rick” Singer, the admitted mastermind of the scheme, into paying $500,000 to help get their daughters into the University of Southern California, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, had no sense they were engaging in any kind of crime, hence their not guilty pleas and continued reluctance to plead out, said the source, who spoke to the Los Angeles Times on the condition of anonymity.

The real threat here is not to Loughlin’s acting career but the future of her daughters on social media. All of that has collapsed. What looked to be an extremely lucrative future as an influencer has ended up being a nightmare run through the back alleys of fraud and money laundering. The actions of the parents have tainted the future of their children. Instead of owning up to a mistake, they’re going to weasel their way out of this by exploiting technicalities.

I can guarantee you—the case against Loughlin probably has some holes in it. But what’s missing here is at least a tacit admission that rich kids get into colleges and college admissions officials don’t seem to dig very hard when it comes to figuring out who should or shouldn’t get it.

America is not a meritocracy. America is rapidly becoming a kleptocracy separated by the same kinds of class barriers found in old European nations. We have always known that there were universities like Yale and Harvard that would crank out mediocre human beings that would be gifted with outlandish expectations and achievement goals upon graduation. This has given us our current political situation—a stumbling, incompetent trio of generations that failed to stop Trumpism, fascism, and nationalism.

You can hardly fault a TV actress for trying to set her indifferent kids up for a lifetime of skating by on their rather thin accomplishments. Perhaps Americans would have seen some benefit from experiencing the leveling grace of the guillotine. Who knows?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Meghan McCain Isn’t Worth the Aggravation




I get what Seth Meyers is trying to do here, but Meghan McCain is a howling mess:

Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Senator John McCain, struggled through an awkward interview with NBC host Seth Meyers on Tuesday, with much of the conversation focused on McCain’s past comments about Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

McCain drew criticism after appearing on the This Week program with George Stephanopoulos just one day after the April 27 Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting in San Diego. She brought up Omar’s criticism of the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. when discussing the synagogue attack.

"When we’re having conversations about anti-Semitism, we should be looking at the most extreme on both sides," McCain said on This Week. "I would bring up Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and some of her comments that got so much attention, and in my opinion Nancy Pelosi wasn't harsh enough on her for trafficking in anti-Semitic language, talking about ‘All about the Benjamins’ and how Jewish people had ‘hypnotized’ the world.”

On Tuesday, Meyers put it to McCain that linking criticism of the pro-Israel lobby in America to anti-Semitic violence was irresponsible, Mediaite reported. “I do think it’s fairly dangerous, and you brought it up after Congresswoman Omar had also had some death threats against her,” he said.

McCain’s public persona really does suggest that she could be the Princess of Arizona, and nothing has been more apt as far as describing why she needs to join her husband at The Federalist and write unhinged rants all day long about Democrats who live their lives like everyone else.

The Senator’s daughter illustrates perfectly why there are laws against nepotism and why using a dead man’s reputation to stake out the high ground when it comes to moral superiority is a bad business strategy. I don’t see where she has any experience, ability, or talent, but she does explode right on cue while on television.

It was a fantastic trick that John McCain pulled on the American media complex. Universally dismissed as a Senator, he ingratiated himself with media personalities who were gullible and could be manipulated and they, in turn, created a nonsensical place for him as America’s Maverick Truth Teller. Nothing could be further from the truth. McCain whored himself out to every conservative special interest that would pay him. He was a reliable cog in the GOP’s Senate machine, casting one admirable vote out of thousands.

I think it’s safe to say that we ignore Meghan.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Probably Not a Good Idea to Be Seen With Trump




If you were hoping for a pause of the insanity of having a sitting president who is compromised by the Russians and can’t stop obstructing justice, then this is not your weekend.

Who in their right mind would be seen in public with Trump after the release of the Mueller Report? Well, now you have your answer—Rush Limbaugh, of course, and I suppose Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs are wondering what they did wrong.

To mount a full-throated defense of the indefensible is to divorce yourself from facts and reality with regards to Trump. Your garden variety publicist would be of two minds here—one, you could avoid the most toxic figure in America and maintain a low profile. Two, you could be seen as supportive and friendly, but risk being tarnished by association.

Whoever advised golfer Lexi Thompson to appear in a photograph with this president and one of the most venal conservatives in American history should be fired:

It’s a fact that Trump and Limbaugh have larger breasts than this young, athletic woman. I’m not sure what kind of a hot take that is, but it is factually correct.






The cult of Trump is all in, baby, all in. They don’t care what “voters” think because they know their Russian friends can bail them out of tight races. They don’t care what the serfs have to say about a damned thing. They have one constituency, and it’s a pitifully small group of oligarchs in Russia and the United States who are going to spend the next twenty-one months on this Earth stealing everything that they can get their hands on.

I had a bunch of tubby jokes, but fat shaming these men is impossible.






They don’t know what shame is anymore. They blunder through life, fucking everything up, and they can’t be bothered with how it looks. Someone else will repair the ruins. They know a Democrat will be elected in 2020, and that president will spend 8 years fixing everything they’ve broken. And then we’ll do it all over again because Americans never seem to learn the truth about Republicans, do they?